As legal and regulated online gambling becomes increasingly mainstream, scammers and fraudsters have begun to leave their mark. While this may sound like we are going to talk about how players are being taken advantage of, that much is not always the case.
Iovation, a part of TransUnion, has been running its iGaming Report for what is now four years. In 2020’s report, one of the primary focuses related to fraud and abuse that is happening at an increasing rate both in the United States and abroad.
Bonus Abusers Running Rampant
Perhaps the biggest and most prevalent form of fraud found across the world of regulated online gambling is the instance of people abusing bonuses. In a lot of the cases, the bonuses that were being abused were those aimed at new players who were just signing up and making an initial deposit. Because most online casinos and sportsbooks offer players free bonus money in conjunction with a first deposit as an incentive to choose their site over the competition, defrauding online casinos and sportsbooks could not be any easier.
Quite simply, Iovation noted that fraudsters will use an email address to sign up, make a deposit, and select a bonus. These same folks will then proceed to use any number of different, additional emails in order to create a seemingly endless number of accounts with a seemingly endless supply of bonus funds. According to Yahoo Finance, Iovation has now seen what it terms “bonus abuse” rise for the last three years. From 2018 to 2019 alone, the number of bonus abuse cases jumped by nearly 75%.
In the words of TransUnion’s senior VP, “Deposit bonuses can be a valuable tool for attracting and retaining players. Unfortunately, a few bad apples can abuse otherwise effective programs to the point of eliminating all their value.”
Iovation also noted that credit card fraud is ticking upward, something that is seemingly a result of the massive influx of newly regulated gamblers across much of the United States.
Mobile Gambling Takes Center Stage
An interesting, albeit unsurprising, facet of the report focused on the rise in mobile gambling. As more legal and regulated sportsbooks and casinos flood the market, so too do their mobile applications. Being that most people are glued to their smartphones throughout a majority of the average week, it should come as little surprise that people are choosing to place bets on their phones rather than sit down at a computer to do so.
As it relates to payouts and deposits, Iovation is saying that almost 80% of them in 2019 took place on mobile devices, an increase of 13% from 2018. As most any modern gambler will tell you, the need for a comprehensive and highly functional mobile application is something that can very easily push a person to choose one sportsbook or casino over the other. It is becoming increasingly obvious that it does not matter how nice the traditional site (that can be accessed from a desktop or laptop) is if the mobile site is drastically lacking.
As we saw in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the legalization of online gambling was quickly followed by an influx of online casino/sportsbook apps. This is also taking place in other states that have more recently legalized and regulated online gambling as well. Moving forward, it is widely believed that mobile gaming will be the preferred choice for the overwhelming majority of the market.